The United States is pleased to announce a partnership with the Government of Burkina Faso to strengthen efforts to improve land governance and increase transparency in land transactions. In recognition of the central role that good land governance plays in achieving economic growth and food security, and in response to intensifying competition for land and natural resources and a lack of access to land administration services in rural areas, the Government of Burkina Faso undertook a multi-year stakeholder consultation process in order to develop a new land policy framework.
Under this framework, and with support from the United States Government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Burkina Faso adopted a new Rural Land Tenure Law in 2009 that recognizes customary tenure practices, allows formal registration of a range of land rights, and decentralizes authority over land administration.
The partnership launched today will build on progress already achieved in implementing elements of the Rural Land Tenure Law and the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGs). The VGs, endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in May 2012, promote secure tenure rights and equitable access to land as a means of eradicating hunger and poverty, supporting sustainable development, and enhancing the environment.
The United States and Burkina Faso will work together to reduce land conflicts in rural areas, increase the recognition of household rights to land, and enable local land use planning for the equitable allocation and use of natural resources. The partnership will also encourage shared learning, enhanced program coordination, and identification of gaps in policy, regulations and practical tools, with a particular emphasis on gender and transparency in land transactions.
The partnership will focus on two primary activities: (1) establishing and operating a national land observatory; and (2) building capacity for tracking transparency of land transactions. The land observatory will monitor and support the land reform process through research and facilitating policy assessment and dialogue to identify further legal, regulatory, procedural and operational adjustments. It will provide a venue for sharing the results, tools developed and lessons learned from the MCC-supported project and others. The observatory will also encourage sustainability and improved performance of the new rural land institutions and promote adherence to principles outlined in the VGs. As part of its ongoing activities, the land observatory will promote gender equity so that both men and women are included in land tenure reform.
Through the partnership, the Government of Burkina Faso will be encouraged to identify and pilot a cost-effective approach to recording, organizing, and storing documents and information related to land rights and transactions in order to improve the security of existing land rights, increase transparency, and improve the efficiency of land administration.
This partnership will be in coordination with other G-8 partners, the African Union Commission (AUC), and multilateral and regional organizations, to strengthen efforts to improve land governance and increase transparency in land transactions. The partners will build on current projects under the MCC Compact with Burkina Faso. That compact includes a Rural Land Governance Project ($59 million) that is implementing many elements of Burkina Faso’s New Alliance Country Cooperation Framework and the VGs. The partnership will also build upon ongoing African land and agriculture development initiatives, including the Land Policy Initiative and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
Good governance and transparency in land transactions is a priority for the G-8 this year, and this partnership represents a key outcome of the United Kingdom’s leadership on this issue. Robert D. Hormats, the Under Secretary of State for Economics, Energy, and the Environment will travel to London, England on June 15, 2013 to announce the Partnership with officials from Burkina Faso.
For more information please see link to partnership document: http://www.state.gov/e/enr/rls/210630.htm.